Fall 2018 Haute Couture: Tony Ward’s Narrative Windows

Lebanese-Italian designer Tony Ward was inspired by the stained glass windows of the Orvieto Cathedral in Umbria, Italy, for his Fall/Winter 2018 Haute Couture collection as he explored unusual ways of folding and weaving ribbons to recreate the fragmented effects of the gothic cathedral’s windows.


“I wanted to give life to stained glass windows in a different way, giving it a 3D effect, using French queues de rats (a technique that uses small band of fabric cut in biais then sewn together), and mixing with sequins, stones, embroideries…that the story of each dress,” the designer explained.


While the small rolled-up ribbons played the role of lead, the stained glass was replaced by colourful embroideries or a mix of fabrics (lace, tulle, silk and more unusual printed transparent screens).


Transparency was key in this collection, with a play of sheer materials mixed with solid fabrics creating windows to the body. On some dresses, the couturier evoked the church by reprising the ogive shape of the gothic style or the rose.

© Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop

© Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop


The designer contrasted the vivid colors of stained glass against black fabrics, using a palette of gitane blue, red, gold.


This was not the first time the designer had turned to gothic architecture for inspiration as it also appeared in his Spring/Summer 2015 collection. This time he pushed the used of queue de rats to the extreme, creating an entire dress out of it in a flattering geometric pattern.


“It took 250 years for his amazing cathedral to be built and it took two and a half terrible months to create this collection and I think everybody hates me in the atelier. On one of the dresses (the finale wedding dress) we hit 800 hours,” he said.